HC Deb 12 February 2004 vol 417 c1690W
Mr. Gardiner

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what financial support the Food Standards Agency is providing to local authorities to aid them in the(a) detection and (b) prosecution of traders in illegal meat. [153265]

Miss Melanie Johnson

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) can offer assistance to local authorities (LAs) in the form of access to thirty members of the illegal meat task force and seven investigating officers to assist them in their enquiries into the illegal meat trade.

These officers have received comprehensive training by the FSA on investigative procedures and techniques, so that they can then advise LAs as to the most appropriate way they can proceed with their investigations.

The task force members are regionally based in LAs and each will initially provide up to ten working days per year in their role as adviser. The costs of their services will be borne directly by the FSA.

LAs may also apply to the FSA for financial assistance towards their work of detecting and prosecuting traders in illegal meat.

The FSA has allocated an initial annual sum of £200,000 to assist LAs in this area of work.